7.3. Investigating during the event

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realizar investigacionesThe primary objective of investigating health or environmental effects during an incident is to be able to provide quick advice, basically for the purpose of protection and treatment. A secondary objective is to organize epidemiological research that will contribute to the public health database and add to existing toxicological information.


Providing advice on protection requires obtaining information on the source of the contamination, the type of substance involved, channels of probable exposure, and basic data on the frequency, type, and severity of health effects caused by the substance.

To pave the way for advice on treatment, all those exposed to the chemical product or suffering acute health effects should be identified, and epidemiological studies should be conducted to determine the efficacy of response and identify the most appropriate treatment.

In the initial emergency stage, there is often conflict regarding between the need to contain the incident and the need to carefully document exposure and effects. Thus, agreements must be in place with emergency personnel to facilitate initiating epidemiological research as quickly as is possible without interfering with response measures.

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